At 4:45 AM local time today, my sister succumbed to her tortures at a place 4000 km from her home called Singapore. They say that despite all clamor of India being such a progressive country and ‘Delhi meri Jaan’ (Delhi – my life) of the Chief Minister for its wonderful facilities, it has no capabilities to treat a serious patient. Yes, we have greatest racing tracks, and are lavish enough to design multi-million dollar balloons for Commonwealth games. But our hospitals are designed to treat only non-critical health situations like cough & cold or flatulence (when our revered politicians gulp more than what they can digest).
And why do we need critical health-care in the city? It is Ram Rajya. It is such a safe place to live in. There are no accidents, no violence and no brutal rapes. So we never thought of spending a dime on saving lives when we do not witness a single unnatural death.
I don’t understand what else could be the reason why a dying patient was airlifted to 4000 km away instead of trying to save her life here. Or was it that she was offered as a gambit for political manoeuvring – (the only skill we specialize in perhaps)?
My sister dying in city would arouse public emotions even more. Would lead to more demonstrations at India Gate, or perhaps in entire city this time. Public anger this time would cross any limit that could be controlled by any politician. And in any case, my sister had little chances of living a normal life after employees of White Line Bus mafia (that runs openly with political patronage), blessed by a Police (that refuses to enforce ban on tinted glasses despite High Court Orders to please its political masters), nurtured by politicians (who control licenses and permits for such private buses in this city) not only raped her, but gouged out her intestines as well before dumping her and her intestines on the road.
This sin-city first raped her mercilessly, then made her a pawn for political battles and finally discarded her to Singapore as a gambit.
My sister will now never come back. But I have so many more vulnerable sisters across the length and breadth of this country and this sin-capital. What happened with her has happened in past with others as well. And would continue to happen unless we have some shame and guts to answer some tough questions.
1. Can we escape the fact that what happened with my sister was a reflection of our overall treatment of women in this country? Not everyone may be raped, but definitely they are abused, leered, eve-teased everywhere, despite our devotion to Jai Mata Di. Look at our abuses. So shamelessly we swear on each other referring to Mother, Sister or Daughter in a vulgar manner. Even to display our anger or affection to someone else, we do not forget to enjoy raping a mother, sister or daughter in our minds and words.
If someone asks me, what is my greatest pride in life, it is not my education or career or awards or fame or anything of that sort. My sole achievement that makes me proud is that I never ever abused or mentally raped any mother, sister or daughter despite that being the overwhelming trend all around – in school, colleges and workplace. I was never ashamed referring to girls around as my sisters. My manliness existed in my respect for women, not leering at them, not eve-teasing them, not making jokes of body parts of women, not discussing how to physically enjoy them and keeping my mind clean of all such shit. After all what I cannot tolerate for my own mother or my own sister, how can I tolerate for someone else?
But how many of us can honestly claim this pride for themselves? What these rapists did was exactly the same that most of us have been doing in our minds and words. When they were gouging out intestines of my sister with an iron rod (now reports say that they were using their hands), they were simply implementing a commonly prevalent abuse of our society. Is not the entire society a culprit for planting and circulating such perverted view of women? Now when a few among us took it a bit seriously, we are calling for their hanging! Did we ever issue a disclaimer each time we abused that these abuses are only literal and not to be implemented? And how good is a disclaimer when we have already polluted the minds?
No, we were simply shameless, culturally shameless, traditionally shameless (given that these abuses are ongoing for several generations).
We all are part of the mafia that murdered my sister.
And mind you, this was not an isolated case. It is just that the case of my sister got a bit more publicity due to media involvement. Such cases are rampant across our country. In Delhi, every few minutes, one case of women abuse happens. Bulk of cases of rapes go unreported.
What has happened has happened. It cannot be undone. But at least we can reform ourselves to not be a party to such crimes in future. Are we willing to do so? That is the tough question.
Can we promise that?
– We shall never ever ourselves abuse or allow anyone else to abuse women through perverted slangs.
– We shall never allow jokes or remarks referring to women in vulgar manner in our vicinity.
– We shall neither ourselves involve nor allow others to eve-tease women or leer at them.
– We shall no way be a party – direct or indirect – to promoting a lust-oriented view of woman in society.
If yes, at least many more sisters and mothers and daughters would be saved from such tragic deaths happening because our society has become a mafia in itself.
2. Can we escape the fact that the death of my sister exposes the utter-rot in our governance system?
– Why were White Line buses plying on road with tinted glasses despite a ban order from High Court long ago?
– How are these White Line buses allocated and permitted to run? Is it not a fact that the earlier murderous Blue Line buses and these White Line buses are being permitted only through political favours and controlled by political power-players? And hence when media highlighted this issue, it was easy to track all the culprits?
Can the government make public the name of owner of the White Line bus, his affiliations, how he got the license to ply and how he hired these criminals?
And why White Line buses, even the auto-rickshaw in Delhi runs through a cartel system. None of the drivers are owners of the auto. There is a huge black market where actual owners sell rights to ply autos and then these rights are further resold multiple times. Thus eventually, when a mishap happens, there is no accountability and no track. All that a driver is trained to do is to flee the vehicle after the mishap.
Why is it not mandatory for all buses and autos to display a photograph and name of driver with contact details, like in case of private cabs? Why is government so hesitant to enforce this simple but effective means to prevent road-crimes in the crime-capital of country?
Is it because there are vested interests or simply that government is incompetent? Either it is a cartel.. rather a mafia.. running at every level of governance or sheer incompetence.
In both cases, entire governance mafia is responsible for murder of my sister.
3. When Delhi has been known to be an unsafe city for years now, what mechanisms do we have to be able to monitor our city and take responsive actions? It is perhaps 10 years ago when a Maulana Azad College student was raped in broad daylight this city and there was a huge hue and cry over safety of women. Many such incidents have happened since then, including some where security forces were involved. But still we do not even have a working effective emergency helpline number. Even if there is, it is either non-functional or not publicized.
I recall that to curb auto and cab related indiscipline, the government started a toll-free complaint number ten years ago and made it mandatory for all cabs and autos to prominently display it. It worked for few months and then was closed. No one in Delhi, except a few knowledgeable ones know whom to contact, where to contact, how to contact anyone in emergency.
There are no cameras to monitor the deadly roads of the city (and nation for that matter) when camera technology is dirt cheap today. There are no Service Level Agreements on how proactive and effective the Police Force is for various emergencies as well as to gauge how efficiently they conduct their duties. How quickly they reach crime scene? How many crime scenes do they reach eventually? How easy is it for anyone in emergency to contact them? How many booths we have on roads to dial an emergency number? Where do we SMS if in crisis?
In fact, they are not even trained on how to manage crowd, to respectfully deal with women or to be firm without being insensitive.
The same government rather mafia spends crores on wasteful decoration of city in name of Commonwealth Games and making lives of aam-aadmi havoc. On spending crores in digging flower-pots with grown plants on road side overnight to impress a President of USA during his visit, or have a state-of-the-art racing track as if that is the national sport of India. Or perhaps because the (un)official Prince of India – the dynastic Yuvraaj – has a passion for racing! His wish is our command! And hence, when he asserted that people were getting irrational about this gang-rape issue, the Delhi Police obediently lathi-charged them. And then the ‘democratically’ elected Home Minister of India compared the protests against the incident with Maoist terror!
Is our democracy not turning into a mega-mafia with limitless power for a few and sheer indifference towards the lesser mortals? Is this attitude (and what it eventually leads to via lavishness and corruption by those in power mafia) not why my sister had to die?
4. How many other victims does the government wish to sponsor for treatment abroad like in case of my sister? Why was a special case made for my sister? Simply because her issue became a national rage? Does the government want to convey that in all such future cases, we should resort to taking the government on streets so that we get proper treatment? Why is this not a natural way of treating victims in ALL cases of crimes?
Or was government trying to hide its own mistakes and mishaps?
The same government was at one point criticising the protests. The President condemned it. The (un)official Prince called it irrational. But when things were going out of control, The Prime Minister says, “Thik Hai!” in a scripted speech. As if the common-man is either an irritant or a joke for political mafia.
My sister was a common citizen. She had to die due to a society that commoditizes women and a governance system that rots from top to bottom. When her issue became a rage, she was no more a common citizen. Thus those who remained common-citizens suffered. They were lathicharged, teargassed, their modes of transportation in city were closed. And then my sister was airlifted away in pretence of giving her special treatment. Now when the news of her death, which perhaps was the reason for this special favor, has finally come, again there is restriction on public movement.
So does it not simply showcase the sheer incompetence and insensitivity of governance structure in dealing with such issues, even though it is no way interested in preventing them? Is it not that the Aam-Aadmi is forced to suffer in this country and its sin-capital? Is it not true that the only way to get reasonable treatment in this country of shameless is to create a ruckus. Only then do the deaf ears of those in power hear something.
Is not government incentivizing mob behavior by acting in such uncoordinated callous manner? Rather incentivizing everyone to become a mafia?
Is it not sending a message to all that “We shall listen to you and take actions only when you force us to do lathicharge and teargas you. Only after 4 days of your protests, and some hooligans (possibly sponsored by political motives) indulging in some violence shall we look within and perhaps force a few personnel to resign, so that we – on whom real ownership comes – can go scot-free.”?
Can the government tell clearly what an aam-aadmi should do so that:
– She is not made victim of such crimes due to mafia-raj everywhere?
– If a crime happens, justice happens without people being forced to get into protests?
– Every victim gets a treatment similar to air-lift to Singapore like in case of my dead sister?
5. And then the celebrities and models joining the protests are giving an all new dimension to brutal murder of my sister! Their only trip in life seems to convince all that they have rights to dress whatever way they want and yet they should be provided all safety! Is it not height of selfishness? No Priyanka Chopra or Mallika Sherawat would ever be raped or murdered like this because they earn millions by selling their glamor and can pay for their security. But their acts only victimize a common woman in the country by making her victim to perversion of those who can’t resist fantasising on such Priyankas and Mallikas but can’t reach these models. Hence they hound the next best option – the girl who is easily available and vulnerable. The girl who has just boarded the bus, the girl who is walking alone in this street, the girl next to me whom I can push in this crowded Metro. A large number of us do and flaunt so. Some in mind, some in words, some through pushing and eve-teasing and some perverts take it to extreme.
In an ideal society of saints, even if everyone roams around naked, no one will bother. Even in a society where law mechanisms to prevent crimes are effective, how one dresses may result in mental crimes and verbal crimes and petty crimes but not serious rapes and murders. I don’t know if such a society exists but definitely we should strive to reach that ideal effective society.
But the ground reality in India is that women are not safe. Law is grossly inadequate, security even more hopeless. Emergency services simply do not exist. And it will take all of us to do a lot more homework and several decades before we reach an acceptable threshold of safety for women of all ages, at all places, at all times. Till then we should all act a little less selfish and more responsible. Let us act in a manner that life of my sister living in that notorious crime-prone village in remote part of country is also not affected. Let us get the basics in place before we debate on dress issues. And till the basics are in place, till security arrangement across the country is proper and adequate, we need to be sensitive and more responsible to the vulnerable ones. This should be last issue to be raised, a slut-walk should be the last of priorities, if at all, if indeed we are serious about safety and dignity of each and every woman in India.
Is it thus not true that what happened to my sister is being exploited by vested groups to further their own selfish wish-lists? And how are these acts helping safeguard so many other sisters whose safety can be ensured only when we focus on more pertinent issues?
My sister will not return. But this mafia-raj everywhere will continue to rape and murder many more sisters until we rise up – look within and outside. Instead of simply blaming the government, resorting to violence, we must issue a comprehensive decision of intolerance against any form of mafia-raj anywhere. No gangs within our family that ridicule women. No gangs in schools and colleges that flaunt on abusing mother, sister, daughter etc or depict women in vulgar manner. No gang of media and entertainment that thrives solely on showcasing women as a glamorous tool for sensual pleasure. No gang of governance, police and politics that have formed cartels to do political favors and allow miscreants to roam freely with state patronage like the buses with tinted glasses. And if anyone of us – society, police, government, politicians etc – hesitate to answer the questions that death of my beloved sister 4000 km away from her homeland has raised, let us throw that mafia element out of our system. Let us have zero-tolerance for them.
Let us have zero-tolerance for all elements that promote violence, hatred, insult to women, corruption, arrogance.
I could not save murder of my sister by a mafia that had entire society, entire governance, entire security system as parties.
But will I allow this mafia to murder rest of my sisters in India?
Let us all answer this..honestly.
Till the answer comes, I am ashamed.